Hawai’i goes with new Format for Paddle Competitions

May 6, 2012


Recently, while in Honolulu, O’ahu, I was able to visit the South Shore for the triangular course series of the Waikiki Paddle Festival for both Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and prone Paddle Board competitions. The course the organizers put up was close to shore, which afforded spectators many opportunities to witness the events (more up close and personal) and cheer for their athletes (almost always in earshot) — it was really cool! That was Day 1, Saturday.

Many thanks to Steve Foster of Pacific Sport Events & Timing — he cued me in on all the happenings real time!

Waikiki Paddle Festival Day 2, Sunday, featured the Outrigger Canoe singles, doubles, etc., along with the SUPs and Boards in the Long Distance ~8 miles, Hawai’i Kai to Fort DeRussy (Waikiki Beach near the Hale Koa Hotel). It was fun for all!

 Great weather and great scenery promises great Paddle Races for this summer!

Hawai’i High School State Championships – Day 4

May 5, 2012

FOUR GREAT GAMES to finish off the 2011-2012 class year for CAL-HI water polo!

Game 19, Gold Medal Game, Punahou 6-3 over Kamehameha-Kapalama:

Punahou’s Courtney Miller stretches to block an accurate Kamehameha shot.

Punahou’s Naomi Ng puts on the pressure against Kamehameha.

Goalkeeper senior Courtney Miller ended her high school career undefeated in Girls Water Polo State Competitions for Punahou with 4 Hawai’i State Titles/Gold Medals and now the coveted Stanford Carr Development / HHSAA Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. Courtney held Kamehameha to one goal in the final three quarters of the Final, 11 saves in the game to lead the defense. Her senior teamates, Sarina Shibata and Naomi Ng, contributed 3 goals and 3 assists, respectively to lead the offense. It was the Fifth State Title in a row for Punahou. Sophomore Kiana Kamashiro led the Kam Warriors on both offense and defense with 2 goals and 4 steals for the State Silver Medal.

Punahou’s Sarina Shibata challenges the Kamemeha team to block her shot attempt… she scored, upper right corner!

Game 18, Bronze Medal Game, Kahuku 6-3 over Kapolei:  Kahuku held off their OIA opponent Kapolei for the third time this season with balance scoring. Kapolei’s  goalkeeper, senior Summer Reyes, kept her team in the game with 10 saves and 4 steals — and contributed one goal herself on a full court skim shot as time expired at the end of the fourth quarter.

Kapolei’s Demiana Gerber lunges to block an attempted pass from Kahuku’s Kahea Kahaulelio.

Game 17, 5th in State Game, Kamehameha-Hilo, Hawai’i 11-5 over Waiakea, Hawai’i: Eight scorers contributed for Big Island power Kamemehameha in a balanced attack that was tight in the first half, but put away in the second.

Kamehameha-Hilo’s 2m power forward Sydney Plunkett prepares to fire in a goal against Waiakea.

Game 16, Consolation Championship, 9th in State Game, Mililani 8-6 over Leilehua: Senior Cassie Kawamata contributed 4 goals for the victors, but that talley was equaled by senior Aundrea Vidal, who continued her tear toward the State all-time scoring title for an individual player at the HHSAA Championships. Her three-game total of 16 goals was top for the 2012 Tournament.

Special thanks to each of the great referees this past week — they performed admirably — Kehau Chang, Shawn Donohue, David Fasi, Grant Fasi-Allison, Sydney Lyons, Daniel Pollard and Michele Wong. Referee Assignment coordintor Jimmy Martindale agrees that each one contributed greatly to the success of the tournament. For those players graduating, best of luck in college (and your collegiate water polo careers if applicable) and all your future endeavors!

Kamehameha’s Kiana Kryzska lets a shot fly after faking out two Waiakea defenders.

Hawai’i High School State Championships – Day 3

May 4, 2012

Interesting day. Thanks to my friend, Tournament Director Aaron Chaney (formerly head coach, Corona del Mar, now at ‘Iolani), and the absence of the normal desk officials due to late-breaking commitments, I was invited to keep the scorebooks for the first three games — and they were exciting! Also — exciting thanks to announcers Mike Claus (formerly zone director, Pacific Northwest, now on local governing body) and Shari Smart (formerly head coach, UH Women’s Water Polo).

Game 10, Consolation, Leilehua 9-6 over Kam-Maui: Aundrea Vidal scored all 9 goals for the Mules, now on their way to tomorrows Consolation Championship versus Mililani. Is 9 a new State Record?


Game 11, Final 8, Waiakea 6-5 over Baldwin: an exciting match throughout. Baldwin-Maui finishes 7T after entering as a “4-seed” from the HHSAA. Waiakea to play for 5th.

Game 12, Final 8, Kam-Hawai’i 8-7 over Kaiser: the Big Isle school leading by 3 or 4 the whole way, got close at the end due to player rotation by Kam coupled with Kaiser’s speedy swimmers capitalizing on almost all of their opportunities. Kaiser finish at 7T their highest placing at States ever.  Kam guarantees an all-Big Island game for 5th.

Then it got boring, in a sense, as the two “semi-finals” for Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) did not live up to the expectations of a very large crowd of 275-300 folks rooting for at least one of the four remaining teams.

Game 13, Semi-final, Kamehameha vs Kahuku:  the more stronger Warriors jumped out to a 4-0 halftime lead, 5-0 before “number 2-seed” finally scored, then cruised up 7-2 entering the fourth quarter.

Game 14, Semi-final, Punahou vs Kapolei: the more agressive Buffanblu sped out to a 4-1 quarter and 8-1 halftime lead, then dominated 12-1 entering the fourth quarter.

Opinion: As mentioned in earlier blogs, the division between the OIA and the ILH is too great presently for both player improvement and spectator enjoyment. Differently said, these two fiefdoms which are constrained due to self-imposed territoriality need to do cross-over tournaments throughout the pre-season. Quarters can be 5 in lieu of 7-minutes. Upper and lower divisions can be created. That’s first priority for next season’s scheduling.

Priority number two is that the HHSAA organizing committed needs to get real and seed this tournament without pulling the ILH gets first, OIA second, Big Island third, Maui fourth mentality. After teams play others inter-island or inter-league (priority one) throughout the season, then the seeds for state will more logically fall into place. It’s extremely clear to me that the top three teams in Hawai’i today are ‘Iolani, Kamehameha and Punahou…

Hawai’i High School State Championships – Day 2

May 3, 2012

Today’s girls water polo was a far cry from yesterday’s opening day.

Most games were a blow out, but the final one was worth waiting for — worthy of a CIF Semi-final or Final!

Game 5, Consolation: Mililani 11-5 over Roosevelt, Mililani advances to Consolation Championship, game never in question.

Baldwin’s (Maui) goalkeeper, Katrina Mooers, pounces on a save.

Game 6, State Quarter-final, Kapolei 12-4 over Baldwin of Maui, game never in doubt.

Kapolei’s defenders trying to block a Baldwin shot.

Kapolei’s Goalkeeper, Summer Reyes, stops a shot at close range.

Kahuku (dark) versus Kaiser (white) was a challenging contest.

Game 7, State Quarter-final, Kahuku 14-10 over Kaiser — a fun game that allowed both coaches to mix up lineups, final result not in question from the outset due to consistent play by Kahuku’s top 8-9 players. Due to rotations for experience with their spares, a spunky Kaiser team closed the gap on numerous occasions.

Punahou’s Naomi Ng prepares to rip a shot versus Waiakea in the State Quarter-final.

Game 8, State Quarter-final, Punahou 12-3 over Waiakea of Big Island — again interesting due to rotations of Buffanblu players, but never in doubt after an early 5-0 first quarter lead.

Game 9, State Quarter-final, Kam-Kapalama 11-6 over Kam-Hilo-Hawai’i — the best game of the tournament so far, especially since the Big Isle counterpart closed the gap four times to one goal by the end of three quarters (6-7, 5-6, 4-5, and 3-4), after falling behind early 1-4, only to get warn out at the end and drop a 5-goal decision.

Now we’ll see what tomorrow brings…

Hawai’i High School State Championships – Day 1

May 2, 2012

Super fun! My wife, Shelley, and I finally made it to Hawai’i for their premier girls high school water polo event — the 2012 Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) Girls Water Polo State Championships. The event this year is being held at the University of Hawai’i Manoa Campus Duke Kahanamoku Pool, May 2-5. This observation is important for the girls of the Hawai’ian Islands, since my previous 5 years of rankings of the KAI~CAL-HI All-American Teams have mostly been from USA Water Polo aficionado friends and coaching associates, and now I get to see for myself in order to make sure the Hawai’i players are well represented on the lists — although, as a personal opinion — I feel I’ve been 90% accurate up to this point because I’ve seen many Hawai’i players compete well for their colleges on the mainland. This should be more beneficial for the university and collegiate coaches that recruit, as well.

Opening Day for this tournament is unique, since the top four seeded teams get a bye… so the”bottom eight” are basically competing for the privilege of playing in the State Quarterfinals. Today, it seemed like a typical series of CIF Quarterfinals, any section, any division, with most scores close and only one lopsided.

Kaiser’s Jessie Watkins won all four sprints and had five steals in the opening game of State Championships.

Game 1: Kaiser, O’ahu 6-3 over Kam School, Maui; Kaiser’s Randi Gongob flipped in four goals, and tough defense by Kaiser resulted in ten steals in a game that Kaiser scratched and early edge and maintained a lead throughout .

Waiakea kept the pressure on Roosevelt the entire game, holding them scoreless in the first half.

Game 2: Waiakea, Hawai’i 4-3 over Roosevelt, O’ahu; Waiakea’s Lauren Hall scored three to hold off the Rough Riders, and the Warrior goalkeeper shutdown her opponents the entire first half.

Kamehemeha scored early and often versus Leilehua.

Game 3: Kam School, Kapalama, O’ahu 10-4 over Leilehua, O’ahu; Aundrea Vidal of the losers tallied 3 goals, but that was out done by 2 apiece from the victors: Carly Coleman, Keolewa Puhi and Kiana Yamashiro.

Game 4: Kapolei, O’ahu 8-6 over Mililani, O’ahu; the Bosque sisters, Brooke (2) and Doran (3), led all scorers for the winners.

Unfortunately, the losers were relegated to the Consolation Round, but the winners advanced. More tomorrow.

Hawai’i Surfing State Championships

May 1, 2012

The Hawaii Amateur Surfing Association (Hasa), also known as/a division of the Hawaii Surfing Association (HSA), had scheduled its annual State Surfing Championships for May 3-4-5-6, surf permitting, at Ala Moana Bowls, O’ahu — but due to a super swell the previous week, conducted the actual events on April 26-27-28. According to freelance writer Lance Arinaga, special to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the day after finals, “It was an action-packed day at the state surfing championships with lots of great rides…”

Since I was in town on the South Shore, I can attest to the great 4′ waves, with mild tradewinds — perfect conditions for all age groups. Congratulations to all the competitors!

Stay tuned for future blogs about high school-age surfers in California-Hawai’i. Belated news, in case you’re on the mainland and haven’t heard from late last fall, the Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) declared that Surfing will become an official high school sport in the Islands as another event on the State Championship slate. This is great news. Although it won’t materialize until 2013, there obviously will be changes to HSA’s Scholastic Surfing League (SSL), which has been active in the past with a majority of high schools participating as clubs, albeit many are varsity — and if not they will be soon!

A long-awaited step forward for the founding State of Surfing, HI.

PS, FYI: California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the CA state sports governing body, does not yet recognize Surfing as a sport, but many high schools do, participating in nationals, regionals and leagues, and awarding school varsity letters. As Hawai’i improves and succeeds, we’ll likely see the CIF sections, especially CIF-SS and CIF-SDS, make value judgments regarding Surfing. For California, this may be tougher, since, as clubs, they do not follow the strict FALL or WINTER or SPRING rules; in fact, presently they cross over with training and dual meets in the FALL and championships in the WINTER.

PPS, Hawai’i: Since Surfing is year ’round, it’s obviously tough to pick what the official season is… the biggest parallel aquatic conflicts include Outrigger Canoe Paddling and Boys/Girls Swimming (WINTER), and Girls Water Polo (SPRING). Since Boys Water Polo (FALL) is not an official HI State Sport, perhaps that is the best season?

Aloha for now.